Many people with asthma notice an increase or worsening of their asthma symptoms, and a rise in the frequency of their asthma attacks during the winter months, but few understand exactly why this happens. Luckily, Dr. Farizani has some easy winter asthma tips that will help patients prevent asthma attacks and keep asthma under control during the cold weather.
Why Does My Asthma Act Up When It’s Cold?
Asthma symptoms tend to be worse during the winter because during this time of year the cold, dry air can irritate your airways. Not only do the cold and dry air play a part in exacerbating asthma symptoms, but respiratory illnesses, like the cold or flu, can cause symptoms to worsen.
Why is My Asthma So Bad in Winter?
Many people with asthma have a difficult time dealing with their condition during winter because this season creates the perfect circumstances for worsening asthma symptoms. While asthma is something that people deal with all year long, the winter supplies ample amounts of cold, dry air, cold and flu germs, as well as other irritants like pet dander and dust mites that can increase the risk of asthma attacks.
What Helps Asthma in the Winter?
There are several things you can do to help decrease the severity of your winter asthma symptoms. Here is a collection of helpful winter asthma tips from Dr. Farizani!
Winter Asthma Tips
Avoid Breathing in Smoke
It’s always nice to sit down next to a warm and roaring fire when there’s cold weather outside, but people with asthma should avoid putting themselves in a position that will cause them to inhale smoke! Smoke from wood burning fireplaces can cause severe irritation to air ways, making it harder to breathe or causing full-blown asthma attacks. Avoiding fireplace smoke can help cut down on the severity of asthma symptoms during the winter.
Stay Active Indoors
During the cold months of the year, we suggest moving your activities inside whenever possible. When asthma sufferers exercise or become active outside, they are exposing themselves to cold air that can cause shortness of breath and asthma flare ups. Being active inside allows you to get that energy out while decreasing the chance of an asthmatic episode.
The stress of the holiday season can make it harder to breathe, literally. As stress knocks people down, not only do their immune systems weaken but they might find their body responds to said stress by causing airway inflammation and irregular breathing. By taking the time to manage stress properly and care for their mental and physical wellbeing, patients can reduce asthma symptoms.
Use a Humidifier
As we’ve learned above, cold, dry air triggers asthma symptoms. That’s why investing in a humidifier is a great idea for people suffering from asthma. By warming the air and adding moisture to it, humidifiers create an atmosphere in the home that is less likely to cause asthma attacks. If you find the air in your home is often unpleasantly dry, sleeping with or running a humidifier can also decrease allergy symptoms and help your overall respiratory function.
Replace Old Filters
Because you’ll be spending more time indoors, the winter season is a great time to replace the air filters in your home! Since the last time you replaced your filters, they have been collecting all the allergens floating around your home; when they become clogged, they are less effective and allergens and throat irritants can begin to build up, acting as triggers for your asthma symptoms. Replacing these filters at the start of the winter season is a great way to make sure the air you’re breathing in your home is as clean as possible.
Wear a Scarf
This winter asthma tip may seem a bit silly, but it really works! Wear a scarf to cover your nose and mouth when you go outside. As you breathe through your nose, your scarf will warm the air before you take it in through your bronchial tubes, making it less irritating to your asthma symptoms. By wearing a scarf, you’ll get to be fashionable and breathe easier this holiday season.
Get Your Flu Shot
If you have asthma, you can avoid the risk of a severe, possibly life-threatening, asthma attack by getting your flu shot! Having asthma does not make you more likely to get the flu, but living with asthma can mean that getting the flu comes with increased risk as your respiratory system is under attack. The flu vaccine will help keep your symptoms under control, ideally allowing you to avoid a severe asthma attack.
Hillcroft Physicians Can Help
This winter, and any time of year, it is important to stay on top of managing your asthma. You and your loved ones should be familiar with and ready to execute your Asthma Action Plan if the need arises. If you or the asthma sufferers in your household do not have an Asthma Action Plan, now is the perfect time to create one. Remember, if asthma symptoms are becoming too difficult for you to control, Dr. Farizani can help. Call 713-988-3921 to schedule an appointment today!